Cecil Beaton, illustrator, photographer and stage designer: scrapbooks

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Scrapbooks compiled by Cecil Beaton and his staff, containing articles and press cuttings recording Beaton's work as an illustrator, photographer and stage designer. There are chronological and subject indexes relating to the scrapbooks.

Administrative / Biographical History

Cecil Walter Hardy Beaton (1904 - 1980) was born in London on 14 January 1904. He was educated at Heath Mount School in London, Harrow School in Middlesex and St Cyprian's School in Eastbourne. From 1922 to 1925 he read history and architecture at St John's College, Cambridge but did not graduate. In 1925 he worked as a clerk for a cement company, Schmiegelow and Company, London. However, he had been experimenting with photographic techniques and in 1926 he left the company to work freelance as a fashion and portrait photographer. In 1930 he obtained a contract with Conde Nast Publications as a caricaturist, illustrator and photographer, mainly undertaking commissions for Vogue magazine, New York and London. During the Second World War, Beaton served as a photographer with the Ministry of Information. After the war, he continued as a freelance photographer until his death in 1980. In parallel with his career as a freelance photographer he had a long-standing interest in costume and set design. From 1925 to 1970 he designed costumes and sets for stage and from 1941 to 1970 costumes and sets for films, most notably Gigi (film) and My fair lady (stage and film). He was the recipient of the Neiman Marcus Award in 1956, the Antoinette Perry Award for costume in 1957, Academy Awards from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for film sets and costumes in 1957 and 1965, and the Honor Award from the American Society for Magazine Photographers in 1963. He became an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society in 1964 and the Chevalier Legion d'Honneur in 1960. He was knighted in 1972. He died in Broadchalke, near Salisbury, Wiltshire on 18 January 1980.

Conditions Governing Access

This archive collection is available for consultation in the V&A Blythe House Archive and Library Study Room by appointment only. Full details of access arrangements may be found here: http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/a/archives/.

Access to some of the material may be restricted. These are noted in the catalogue where relevant.

Conditions Governing Use

Information on copying and commercial reproduction may be found here: http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/a/archives/.